Snow, high winds likely in area — Up to 16 inches possible in Unicoi, Carter, Johnson counties

Becky Campbell • Oct 29, 2012 at 8:37 AM

The first signs of a superstorm, caused as cold air from the west meets moisture from a hurricane, popped up in Northeast Tennessee Sunday, but conditions were only predicted to get worse.

The promise of colder temperatures and rain for the Tri-Cities region proved true, and weather forecasters predicted residents in some locations would likely wake up to snow this morning.

There is also still the chance of snowfall for Washington County and the immediate surrounding area as well, but wind will be the biggest problem, according to Chad Bruckman, operations and training officer for the Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re just watching like everything else is. (Today) we’ll have a webinar with the National Weather Service” to get an update on what’s expected as the storm continues to develop.

Information he received Sunday from the NWS indicated the Tri-Cities area is expected to get a trace to one inch of snowfall through Tuesday.

“They have mentioned that worse than snow for us, will be the wind,” Bruckman said. “That could cause trees down and power outages.”

But drive toward Unicoi County, Johnson County and the upper parts of Carter County and it will be a totally different situation.

The Weather Service in Morristown issued a winter storm warning that started at midnight Sunday and expires at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The areas included in the warning in the region are Johnson, Southeast Carter, Southeast Greene and Unicoi counties in Northeast Tennessee and Lee, Russell, Scott, Washington and Wise counties in Southwest Virginia.

A wind advisory is also in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday for those same locations.

Most of the snow is expected along the Tennessee and North Carolina border and all of Southwest Virginia.

The weather service said “heavy snowfall is likely for these areas.”

Areas like upper Unicoi, upper Carter and Johnson counties could likely see up to 16 inches of snow by Tuesday, according to the NWS.

Unicoi County Road Superintendent Terry Haynes said he has crews in the shop finishing up the job of outfitting trucks with snowplows, but until snow starts to fall, they are in a holding pattern.

Haynes said Unicoi County has had snow this early in the season before, “but not like they’re predicting this time.”

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